Tom Coates has a good post on the new “feature” in iTunes, called the MiniStore, that prompts you to buy music from the iTunes Music Store while you’re browsing your music library. The first time I opened iTunes 6.0.2 (which came with a new EULA, a warning sign if there ever is one) and looked at the library, I had the classic, “What the hell is that?” reaction. I have since learned that not only does the window take up some of my precious screen space with content I don’t want, but it also sends a list of whatever I’m looking at in the library or listening to back to the mother ship so that it can supply me with recommendations tailored to my tastes.
You can turn off the feature (and the data collection) by selecting “Hide MiniStore” in the Edit menu, but I didn’t find that out until I read about the feature on BoingBoing. It doesn’t surprise me when people add features like this, but I still think this sort of pushes iTunes into the spyware category. Maybe some people will like this feature (I normally do like recommendations), but I think the proper solution from the user interface design perspective would have been to notify upgraders about the new feature the first time they run iTunes post-upgrade and let them opt out right up front.